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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(7), 1548; doi:10.3390/ijms18071548

Metallothionein from Wild Populations of the African Catfish Clarias gariepinus: From Sequence, Protein Expression and Metal Binding Properties to Transcriptional Biomarker of Metal Pollution

1
Department of Chemistry, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK
2
School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zambia, P.O. Box 32379, Lusaka 10101, Zambia
3
Department of Genetics, Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection, Nicolaus Copernicus University, 87-100 Torun, Poland
4
Analytical and Environmental Sciences Division, Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, King’s College London, London SE1 9NH, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 May 2017 / Revised: 3 July 2017 / Accepted: 13 July 2017 / Published: 18 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metallothioneins in Bioinorganic Chemistry: Recent Developments)
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Abstract

Anthropogenic pollution with heavy metals is an on-going concern throughout the world, and methods to monitor release and impact of heavy metals are of high importance. With a view to probe its suitability as molecular biomarker of metal pollution, this study has determined a coding sequence for metallothionein of the African sharptooth catfish Clarias gariepinus. The gene product was recombinantly expressed in Escherichia coli in presence of Zn(II), Cd(II), or Cu, and characterised by Electrospray Ionisation Mass Spectrometry and elemental analysis. C. gariepinus MT displays typical features of fish MTs, including 20 conserved cysteines, and seven bound divalent cations (Zn(II) or Cd(II)) when saturated. Livers from wild C. gariepinus fish collected in all three seasons from four different sites on the Kafue River of Zambia were analysed for their metal contents and for MT expression levels by quantitative PCR. Significant correlations were found between Zn and Cu levels and MT expression in livers, with MT expression clearly highest at the most polluted site, Chililabombwe, which is situated in the Copperbelt region. Based on our findings, hepatic expression of MT from C. gariepinus may be further developed as a major molecular biomarker of heavy metal pollution resulting from mining activities in this region. View Full-Text
Keywords: Kafue River; heavy metals; Clarias gariepinus; liver; metallothionein; MT gene expression; biomarker; toxicogenomics Kafue River; heavy metals; Clarias gariepinus; liver; metallothionein; MT gene expression; biomarker; toxicogenomics
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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M’kandawire, E.; Mierek-Adamska, A.; Stürzenbaum, S.R.; Choongo, K.; Yabe, J.; Mwase, M.; Saasa, N.; Blindauer, C.A. Metallothionein from Wild Populations of the African Catfish Clarias gariepinus: From Sequence, Protein Expression and Metal Binding Properties to Transcriptional Biomarker of Metal Pollution. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 1548.

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